Monday, April 27, 2015

Southwestern Zucchini Medley

A very quick and simple side dish inspired on a night when I was tired and hungry.  I had a bunch of veggies that I needed to use and wanted a way that was a little different.  Something to serve with something from the grill...

I've always been a big fan of ratatouille but that takes a lot longer and I didn't have any tomatoes or eggplant.  I love corn and I always have the roasted jarred red peppers from Trader Joe's on hand. Well, that settles that,  I'm making southwest ratatouille! 

This is great cold too,  I ate in on a green salad with some lime vinaigrette and a sprinkle of cheese for lunch the next day.   Very yummy. 

Serves about 4

3-4 small zucchini,  diced (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 onion,  diced (about 1 cup)
1 jalapeƱo,  seeds removed and diced small
1 cup roasted red peppers,  jarred 
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder (optional)
Salt and pepper

In a fry pan,  over medium high heat saute the diced onions in the olive oil until they soften. Add the jalapeƱoa and zucchini,  stirring to cook very al dente, adding the thawed corn and the roasted peppers and cook until everything is hot,  but be careful to not over cook it.  Season with salt,  pepper and chili pepper. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Best Mai Tai on Kauai?

A while ago, we spent a great week in Kauai, I wrote about the local food in this blog posting and included a bit about the "Best Mai Tai in Kauai" at The Nui in Hanalei.  

It was a good Mai Tai for sure, but the service was not friendly and the place was a dive.  A dive bar is OK with me, however the unfriendly service is certainly never OK, especially in Hawaii!

So, I've been thinking of that Mai Tai and decided to have a go at their "secret".  Here's a damn fine Mai tai to enjoy anywhere!

Hey, one more thing, if you ever need a Mai Tai recipe for a CROWD, here's a party size recipe.  Very good, but not so many ingredients as this specialty version.


 (not shown- Amaretto, which I changed my mind substituted for Orgeat syrup after a couple nights of test batches!  It's a hard job, but someone has to do it.)

Makes 1 large, or 2 small


1 1/2 oz dark rum (with a bit for a "float" on top)
1 1/2 oz coconut rum, like Malibu
3/4 oz triple sec, or orange curacao
3/4 oz amaretto liqueur
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
1 1/2oz mango juice, or orange juice
Juice of 1 lime

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
Pour in rums, triple sec and amaretto. 
Fill remainder of shaker with the mango and pineapple juice.

Shake until well-blended, then pour into tall glasses filled with ice.
Add a splash of grenadine for color, if desired.
Add garnishes... like slice of orange, wedge of pineapple, maraschino cherry, umbrella, fancy straw and a flower.  Make it amazing!

Need some regular ideas?  "Like" my Facebook page

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake

An easy to make coffee cake from Food & Wine
You don't even have to wait for peach season, go ahead and use frozen peaches!  
But heck, you got fresh?  Use that, of course!

I'm thinking this would be a great recipe with any kind of fruit, so use your imagination and use what you got!

I made this one evening, and brought it to work for a morning meeting.  The springform pan makes it an easier traveler too, the sides of the pan protecting it until you get there.

Makes 9" cake


    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Cake Batter

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 cup yogurt, or sour cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    One 10-ounce bag frozen peaches, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 325° and butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
Chop Peaches

In a bowl, using your fingers, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Add the butter and mix until smooth. Add the pecans; press the mixture into clumps.

In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light, 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time; beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until incorporated.

Spread two-thirds of the batter in the pan. Fold the peaches into the remaining batter and spoon into the pan. Scatter the streusel crumbs on top. 

Bake the cake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; loosely cover the cake with foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.Transfer to a rack and cool for 30 minutes, then remove the ring and let the cake cool completely before serving.  

Mine looks a little gooey on the top, but it was fully cooked.  I did cook mine about 10 minutes longer than the original recipe suggested, but I did use more than the 10 oz of frozen fruit.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A Very Cherry Manhatten

A Manhattan has many of these same ingredients... except for one.
You know what makes this one different?
Maraschino liqueur, either Cherry Herring or Cristiani.

As I stood in the aisle of the Total Wine or More, I viewed my choices; Peter Herring Cherry (Dutch) or Italian Cristiani.  Same price.  I chose the Italian one, but I struggled.  Later after some research on the internet, I see that Cherry Herring is the iconic best seller.  Next bottle?  Cherry Herring.  I will let you know which one is better. 
We like these so much, I may have to buy another bottle sooner than expected.  Hahaha.

One note,
I expected Maraschino liqueur to be red, but, blissfully, it not dyed a bright ruby color.  No one needs more red dye in their life, save it for the actual maraschino cherry.

(I forgot to photograph the bitters...)

Makes 1 large martini, or two small (...I got an idea!  Make two large & toast with a pal!)

3 oz bourbon
1/2 oz cherry liqueur. Peter Herring or Cristiani Maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
A dash of bitters, either Angostura or Peychaud's (I can't decide which I like better...)
Maraschino cherries, for garnish

Mix everything (except the cherry) with ice in a cocktail shaker,  shake, shake, shake.  Strain and pour into a martini glass, garnish with a cherry and serve.